Historic Charm

I am so excited to share today's post!  I haven't done this yet, but I want to include weddings that inspire me on this blog.   So here we are with my very first inspiring wedding to share!  My beautiful cousin got married last year and I simply loved her wedding.  From start to finish there were personal touches, and sweet details met us at every turn.  Being a guest was a delight--I sipped the signature cocktail, I found my name on the charming escort card fence, I danced the night away under pretty paper lanterns.  Courtney and Geoff created a fun, personal, and intimate family-oriented celebration.  I enjoyed every minute of it and commend them on throwing such a great party!

Here is Courtney's wedding story, in her words:

I was raised in Virginia, it's the state my husband and his military family lived the longest, and more importantly, it's the place we met and fell in love.  The Thomas Birkby House's 18th century origins, brick terraces, and manicured gardens appealed to our sense of history and home. We wanted to introduce our guests to our state and our love story in an intimate garden setting full of romantic and personal details. Inspired by the shades of Southern porch ceilings, painted blue to mimic the sky, we chose dusty aqua blue and rich chocolate brown to ground our wedding color palette, providing a sweet contrast to antique silver and creamy petal accents. We displayed family wedding photos to celebrate the great love stories we know best, and incorporated handmade touches throughout the decor- hand-tied posy pins and cookies baked from a family recipe served as favors, built a frame to display our handmade escort cards, covered books in blue paper in a nod to our university beginnings and love of literature, and in one daring DIY escapade, I made my first ever mosaic after a case of mercury glass votives arrived broken (and non-returnable). There isn't a single lemon that can't be turned into lemonade when you keep your eye on the prize- honoring your partner and the love you share.



Photographer: Abby Jiu Photography, www.abbyjiu.com Florist: Growing Wild, www.growingwildfloral.com Venue: The Thomas Birkby House, www.birkbyhouse.com Makeup Artist: Ryan Krasney, Blend, www.blendevent.com Caterer: Joan Wolford, Savoir Fare, www.savoirfarelimited.com Design Coordinator: Carrie Moe, Fleurish Events, www.fleurishevents.com Cake: Jason Reaves, Market Salamander, www.marketsalamander.com Monogram Design: Jennifer Olmstead, Deleted Space Creative, jennifer@deletedspacecreative.com

(And thank you for contributing, Courtney.  You were a stunning bride and you are a fabulous writer!)






Allure: 4th Week in Review

Hi!  I hope you all had a fabulous Valentine's week!  I'm a teensy bit glad it's over, actually.  Spring is on the way!  I am really excited about some goings-ons in the next few weeks...Kaella and I have been working on a fun, new project and as details fall into place (and by 'fall', I mean 'get handled by experts--us!'), I am giddy like a school girl with a secret! Here are a few highlights from this last week:

1.  Swedenborgian Church.  I visited the church on Saturday to meet the new events manager, Jenny Son.  We talked about the church's rich history, and it's renewed commitment to LGBT weddings and marriage equality.  We also discussed an upcoming collaboration...more on that later!

Images courtesy of Jere Visalli Photographics and Discovery Bay Studios

I coordinated a wedding at Swedenborgian last September and it was beautiful.  I love the space...it feels warm and intimate, and you can feel the history when you walk in.  It is a pleasure to work there and I hope to many more times!

2.  Our video!  Front page news, people!  On the Allure Home Page, check me out!  I shot this a few months ago with Martin Rossetti of Fill in the Blank Media.  I wanted to put something on the site so that visitors could get to know me a little, and to find out what makes Allure different than other wedding planning companies.  There are plenty out there now and I believe that our training (Cal State Wedding Planning Certification Program), our many years of experience and our commitment to marriage equality do make us stand out.  My goal was to get that across in 45 seconds.  I'm proud of the video and I'm so happy to see it on the site.  Thank you, Martin!

3.  This week I've been doing a lot of planning for my clients K and AJ.  I was hired to do 'Full Planning' for them and they live in LA, so I have been researching, referring and booking vendors this past week...we have a busy Saturday next weekend when K and AJ come up to visit.  4 meetings:  florist, photographer, hair stylist, baker.  Candlestick maker!  Just kidding, but if I needed to find a candlestick maker, I would, no problem!

A week in the life of a wedding planner.  Lots of time on the computer, lots of coffee, lots of phone tag, more cupcakes than other professions (job hazard), sifting through pretty pictures, sending thank you notes, tweeting, blogging, linking, quickbooking, filing, researching, attending fun meet-ups, and shopping for deals on vases and containers...at least that's what this wedding planner did in a week!  The work never ends.  I wouldn't have it any other way! P.S.   Promotions! Facebook

Wedding Wire



Allure: 2nd Week in Review

I'm writing this weeks 'Week in Review' as the delicious smell of chorizo queso fills the room.  It's Super Bowl Sunday and we have traditions around here, folks!  My husband considers Super Bowl Sunday an important national holiday, and I consider it a day to eat lots and lots of bacon.  The party we'll be heading off to soon has an annual appetizer contest and 90% of the food entered in will have pork as the first ingredient.  My Quesizo will have to compete against (among others) my husband's famous spicy mac and cheese, homemade sausage stuffed jalapeno poppers, and the ever popular sausage-roll-wrapped-in-bacon-basted-in-it's-own-fat.  Disgusting, I know.  Please don't judge me.

While extremely interesting, Super Bowl Sunday is not actually what this post is about.  This post is my second Week in Review for Allure.  And we had another fabulous and productive week!  So here goes!

1. Baby's Breath.  This week, I was doing lots of research for my full-planning clients; getting married in September at the Rengstorff House.  I love this historic Victorian house venue...the ceremony and reception will be outside on tailored lawns and brick patios, and the land around the house is lush and wild and just beautiful.  I was thinking of some decor and floral ideas that would complement the natural setting and fit in with my client's wedding vision, and speak to their personal style.  I've always liked the way that baby's breath looks when it's bunched together tightly, so I started with that.  I loooove what I found and I sent a description of my preliminary plan (line the aisle with baby's breath on the grass, possibly use baby's breath to decorate the cake and escort card table) over to my clients and they jumped for joy and celebrated my brilliance over champagne and caviar!  (They talked about it and decided they liked the idea, and told me to proceed.)  Here's an example of what I am talking about.  I'll post pictures of my creation in September, of course!

Flowers by Heavenly BloomsI love this topic so much, I might just post more on it later!

2.  Kaella.  This week, Kaella (my assistant, mentoree, and friend!) had her second class at Cal State Hayward's Wedding Planner Certification Course.  She aced the quiz and will post about the class later this week!  This is the same certification course that Michelle Martinez and I both took, so we are so proud of Kaella and can't wait for her to be certified!

3.  Allure's first styled shoot.  I'm thrilled to announce that a special project is in the works for Allure right now.  We are planning our very first styled shoot.  Kaella and I are putting together the details right now and we'll shoot in late March.  I don't want to give too much away, but I will tell you that the reason I am so very excited about this is because we will be styling and shooting vingettes for a wedding with two grooms.  Another super exciting thing about this shoot?  Our friend Meg Perotti will be shooting it.  She is ridiculously talented--here's her site, you want to take a look, trust me!  Here's an example of a styled shoot that Kaella did last month with Edyta Szyszlo.  It was featured in Style Me Pretty! 

That's it for now!  I have to taste this queso...

Red + Cream = Valentine Dream

Valentine's Day is just around the corner... the perfect excuse to finally create a board inspired by this gorgeous red faux fur coat.  What a great look for a bride, right?! It's been sitting in my files for a while now, just waiting for this lovely opportunity.  Paired with cream, the duo walk a fine line between sultry and sweet.  Aren't we all a bit of both anyway?

Top: Bride, Suitecase, Cake

Middle: Tablescape, Bridesmaid, Invitations

Bottom: Matches, Favors, Tomato dish

Joie de vivre!



Blogs We Love. 1st post: Modern Kiddo

Hi there!  So the wedding industry is all about connections, connections, connections.  We seek inspiration from storefronts and architecture, art and craft, history, literature, geography, food, nature and fashion.  We like to stay on top of current and emerging trends and we like to stay connected to others in the industry as we all share our clients, ultimately.  A wedding planner does not work in a bubble!  Keeping up with everything is a wonderful challenge and most days, there simply aren't enough hours.  I strive to maintain a healthy life/work balance and that means that to-dos on my to-do list today often end up on tomorrow's list.  So I love it when I can combine my life with my work.  Afterall, my greatest inspiration comes from the everyday, the often mundane, and the view right in front of me: Life.  For example, as a working mom, I'm on pinterest pinning wedding flowers, reception signage, the next pair of flats I want, easy recipes, organizational ideas, and stuff for kids--games, decoration, apparel, rainy day ideas...you name it.  My pinterest boards represent my life--it's a mixed bag, people!  A mixed bag of awesome.

When I come across a blog that hits more than misses in how it relates to MY life, I am a dedicated fan.  We wear a lot of hats and I love getting to know other moms doing the same juggling act.  Michelle, the owner of Allure and my dear friend, is one such mom, and she recently introduced me to this blog: modernkiddo.com.  Michelle's friend, Alix, edited the copy for the original Allure website--I'm sure some of that very copy remains on the site today!  Alix is a "vintage and design lovin' mama" and her blog is AWESOME.  It's exactly what I am talking about: the content fits many parts of my life--not just the 'wedding planner' part, although there is plenty design inspiration there for weddings and parties.  It's about kids, fashion, design...all with a super cool vintage focus.  Very fun.

Another cool thing about this blog...Alix's own wedding story.  Probably the most unique wedding post I have ever seen.  Alix and her husband got married 10 years ago in Palm Springs at the same house Elvis and Priscilla rented for their honeymoon (and where they most likely conceived Lisa Marie!)  Read about the history of this "House of the Future" and check out the pics of Alix and her husband chilling where Elvis once partied.  Seriously kick-ass.

Hope you enjoy Modern Kiddo as much as I do!

More on Pinterest in an upcoming blog!

This one's for the boys!

Hello Wednesday!  I am excited to introduce the very first of our 'Vendor Love' installations here on the blog.  Occasionally, when we are working with a particularly awesome vendor and we want to tell you all about said vendor, we will here on the Allure blog!  We have so many fellow industry pals and sharing the love is important, so here we go! I have an ongoing list of fabulous photographers, designers, florists, venues, artists, musicians...you get the point....all wedding vendors that I could start showering with love and blog affection here in the first post.  Instead, I am going to get the ball rolling with the oft-neglected needs of the GROOM.  Oh yes, I know you are out there, gentlemen.  You may not be reading this blog, but I hope to get you!  For now, dear readers, pass it on, will you?

I would like to introduce Georges' Creations.  You want a suit?  Here's how it works:  A tailor comes to you--your house, your office, or you can meet at the SF City Club, or in a suite near Santana Row in San Jose.  Remember, this is an experience.  Bring your best man.  Bring some cognac.  Bring your wedding planner.  This is the bespoke tailoring experience perfected.  The tailor, expertly trained in France, takes precise measurements as an advisor discusses style, color and fabric with you.  Decisions are made.  High fives are exchanged.  The suit (and we are talking the WHOLE suit--pants, jacket, shirt, vest, even tie) is made to order in France and delivered to your door in 4 weeks.  A tailor is available if any final alterations are needed.  But they won't be. 


Listen, I've seen the suits and they are exquisite.  And not as expensive as you would think, considering.  Depending on what you choose, prices range between $940 and $3000.  This is a suit or tuxedo that will stand the test of time.  Looking through the website and brochure, I can't help but think of my brother Alex.  At 6'4" and thin, he has to get his suits tailored pretty extensively and he is quite the fashion plate, so one of these would be perfect for him.  Plus, Georges' can add whatever flair a man desires...bright orange lining?  Sure.  Swarovski crystals?  Of course.  I know the latter takes a 'specific' kind of guy...and I love him!

mmm...sharp!  Allure.  Loves.  Georges'.

While we are on the topic, check out The Distilled Man.  Offering classes in "Essential Man Skills".  I kid you not. 



The Lab Event!

Hi Wednesday!  So last week was pretty huge.  I moved to San Jose, attended a fantastic social media workshop by Kara Kull of How Fab at Blu Bungalow Studio in SF, and Allure was part of the Library Collection at the fabulous wedding event, The Lab Event in Sonoma.  Kaella and I had been looking forward to this for months and it didn't disappoint!  Putting our binder (that Kaella worked so hard on!) on the shelf in the Library was a really proud moment for us.  The Lab Event was the baby of Allison SilberYasmin Zialcita Ali and Erin Taylor.  These three ladies got together and decided to throw a party for engaged couples to meet inspiring wedding vendors, taste awesome catering, and basically have a great time in a beautiful, to-the-nines, wine cellar (Cline). 

 I think I was as inspired as the giddy brides at this event.  Everything was just put together so well!  Seriously, the huge room was transformed and I wanted to live there!  I definitely want to throw a party there.  Or in my living room, but with some of the decor from the Lab!  Huge round balloons, playful paper pompoms, candlelit wine barrels, a surprise confetti blast, and lush floral designs on every surface...Kaella and I were in vintage-inspired heaven.

water colored runner by Aerialist Press

"groom's lounge" by Milkglass Vintage Rentals

the Library. (can you see our binder? pink bow.)

I met lots of amazing Bay Area vendors, and have many thank yous and emails to send out.  The biggest thank you goes to the ladies of The Lab Event.  I was really just so happy to be there, all thier hard work made for one amazing, succesful party.

Also, I'd like to shout out to Fox and Fawn Bakehouse.  I probably had 4 cupcakes last night (they were mini, but still...) and I LOVED them!  Delectable and vegan.  Vegan?  Yup.  I have to admit, I was surprised.  I'm not exactly on the vegan train...but I will seek out this bakery in the future.  For myself and my clients.  The cupcakes were so so so good! 

I was so happy to finally meet Meg Perotti and Edyta Szyszlo -- 2 amazing photographers that are both based close to my new home in the South Bay.  I also connected with Chelsea Tucker Butts of Off the Beaten Path and Laurel Anderson of Esla Events, 2 other event planners/designers I hope to collaborate with in the future.  Elizabeth Chang from Skyla Arts, a hair and makeup artist, shared a little table with Kaella and I and it was so fun connecting with her as well.  I was mentally putting together a "dream team" of vendors all night!

It was a wonderful night all around and I'm proud that Allure was a small part of it.  Our binder and more information will be on the Allure shelf at the Inspired Collective studio in Campbell this Friday.  I'm looking forward to an awesome year...this week was a great start to 2012!

ladies of Allure!

photos by Kaella via Instagram!



Wedding Planner Certificate Program: My first day of class

I have two degrees. A business. A fantastic job at Allure. Experience. And industry connections. So why get my wedding planning certificate, you ask? I truly believe one can and should never stop learning. I come from a family of educators. My father is a Chemical Engineering professor & researcher at Stanford University. My stepmother taught and researched Chemistry and chemical biology at Harvard before taking on the role of SLAC director at Stanford University. Brainy, I know. But growing up among these high level educators and scientists taught me that one can always learn more in their field. When I first decided to work in the wedding and event planning industry, I knew that I would eventually go back to school, and probably would continue to take courses throughout my career to ensure I am always offering my clients and colleagues the very best. It was meeting Christy and learning of her and Michelle’s experience in Joyce Scardina Becker’s Wedding Planner Certificate class that showed me the time was now. Not only an award winning wedding planner with 25 years under her belt, she is a successful business woman, a wife, a speaker, an author, an innovator (she founded the Wedding Planner Certificate program and WIPA, the Wedding Industry Professionals Association). I couldn’t think of a better person to learn from, than someone who embodies so much of what I hope to achieve.

I have to admit, I was a little nervous leading up to my first day of class. It’s been a while since I’ve been in school and had homework. But I was also excited because of the amazing things Christy told me about the program. The people I would meet, the detail of information provided, the semester long project that is based on a real-life wedding. And in the end, the pride I will feel to stand among my Allure colleagues and mentors, Christy and Michelle, and say “We are certified wedding planners” is the consummate feeling.

Once class began, my nerves were settled, which is ironic because we learned the amount of work and studying required for the class. I suppose it didn’t overwhelm me, as I like school (the dose of nerd in me) and I’m passionate about the work. What I’m most looking forward to is the project, a “Staging Guide.” A staging guide is essentially the binder every planner should have for each wedding. As a former project manager in the marketing industry, I also used binders to keep all the information for each project. It holds everything related to the event or project, from objectives and background information to timelines and vendor contracts. You bring it will you to meetings and events, so your information is with you at all times. As a project manager, I referred to this as “the bible, ” and it’s no different in wedding planning. I plan to use a real wedding for my project… I just need to decide which one.

9 hours and no breaks later, my hand hurt from taking so many notes, but my brain was swimming with information and ideas. A I drove home on the 880 freeway, I received a call from my Father with great news that my brother just proposed to his girlfriend in Costa Rica and she said yes! My first thought was Yay! She is so darling and I was hoping he was going to pop the question soon. My second thought was, oh! another potential couple for my project... *wink*

Until next time!


Allure in the Inspired Collective!

Hi Wednesday!  I am knee deep in the middle of moving this week and while I am sad to leave my beloved San Francisco, I am excited about our move to San Jose.  It will be a friendlier city for my two year old, and we will be living much closer to my husband's work, so it will be nice for our family.  I'm relocating both personally and professionally, so I have a lot on my plate right now, it's filled to the brim with exciting transitions!  I am ready to get Allure into the south bay fold while continuing to work in San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area.  My first big step in San Jose was getting Allure in the Inspired Collective at Engaged and Inspired.  Done and done!  I'm thrilled to be a part of Allison Silber's collective and I can't wait to get to know the other wedding vendors in it. (A short list of some of the other vendors is below).   Also, I'm so happy to announce that Allure has a new logo (created by the amazing Kaella--see her intro post our blog) and that we will be part of the library of vendors at The Lab Event in Sonoma on January 14.  I'm not even officially living in San Jose yet, but Allure is all over the place! Let's do this 2012!

Some of my Inspired Collective peers!  Encarnacion Photography Fox and Fawn Bakehouse Huckleberry Karen Designs Over the Moon Vintage Rentals Josephine Harmon Fine Makeup Artistry I can't wait to get to know everyone!


2012 Special!

 New Year, New Allure!

 Happy New Year!  Our catchphrase this month is 'New Year, New Allure!'  With all of the changes made recently, I am eager to celebrate Allure and I think 2012 is going to be a BIG year for us!  To jump right in, we are offering a special deal for the month of January.  Anyone who books us this month for their wedding this year will receive an automatic discount included in their proposal.  Instead of our usual Month-of Coordination package starting at $2150, book this month and the package will be $2012! 

The holidays are a huge time for proposals, so pass on the love and send your friends our way!  Contact me and lets start the new year off with a bang!  A wedding planning bang!


Photo by Jennifer Paschal, Bruce Forrester Photography



Confetti + Sparkle Inspiration Board

With New Years Eve just a day away, I've got confetti and sparkle on the brain.  Sounds like a great wedding theme to me.  No not just your typical black, gold and silver color palette.  2012 is going to be a great year and, with a future so bright, we must have color... lots of color!  Nothing says happy like bright colorful confetti, and if there's one day to sparkle it's your wedding day.  What do you think... Does this board get you in the mood to party? Top: Glitter Guide, The Knotty Bride

Middle: Somewhere Splendid, Asos, Confetti Systems

Bottom: Modern Cupcake, Etsy

Happy New Year!